In 1968 and 1969, The Joke was translated into all the Western languages. But what surprises! In France, the translator rewrote the novel by ornamenting my style. In England, the publisher cut out all the reflective passages, eliminated the musicological chapters, changed the order of the parts, recomposed the novel. Another country: I meet my translator, a man who knows not a word of Czech.

“Then how did you translate it?”

“With my heart.” And he pulls a photo of me from his wallet.

– Milan Kundera, The Art of the Novel (1986)

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